Thank You, WOW Fellowship

On my first day at the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN), a Regional Security Officer later told me he thought I looked “terrified.” As much as I tried to hide my nervousness on that first day, I had no idea what my summer in a new city would hold for me. As I exit the Mission ten weeks later, I know that I leave with more knowledge about political reform and public policy, professional skills, as well as personal confidence that have exceeded my expectations for this summer.

In helping with projects bigger than myself and providing support in the offices I worked in, I gained a better understanding of the meaning of teamwork and communication. I learned when to listen and apply knowledge from coworkers, but also when to step in with suggestions. It was challenging navigating how the Mission fit into the bigger system of the State Department and the United Nations, and being surrounded by important and successful diplomats was certainly intimidating, but also incredibly inspiring.

I gained a better understanding of the various career paths I can take as someone interested in international relations, and global health and development. Through weekly brown bag lunches with political officers, deputy heads of sections, and even an ambassador, I heard about diverse backgrounds that have led to successful careers at the State Department and at the Mission.

USUN Interns with Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

My advice to those who are studying International and Global Studies (IGS) is to be open-minded in your opportunities. Find what you are passionate about and work towards a career doing exactly that. In trial and error and in figuring out what you don’t want to do, you can figure out what exactly it is you do want to do.

I am most proud of the independence that I have gained this summer. Living and working on my own in New York City brought on many new challenges that my small town in Arnold, Maryland certainly didn’t prepare me for. Whether it was navigating the subway system, learning how to network at events and meetings, or simply making sure I had enough food in my fridge for the next day’s lunch, I have definitely gained professional and personal life skills that I will take with me back to Brandeis.

Spending some last few moments in the General Assembly hall

As I finish up my last few days at the US Mission the UN, walking through the United Nations “Delegates Entrance” has become bittersweet. The functions of the UN that I have studied huddled under a textbook have come to life in multilateral negotiations at the General Assembly and Security Council, and I will certainly miss being surrounded by so many inspiring individuals who I can learn from. I hope to keep the relationships I have made in New York, and I hope to return soon. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have interned at the United States Mission to the United Nations, which I know would not have been possible without the WOW fellowship, and I am eager to see what the future has in store.

P.S. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Jonathan Cohen’s parents went to Brandeis! You never know who you will meet along the way!

At the Halfway Point at the US Mission to the UN

I’m lucky enough to have an internship that makes it easy to get out of bed each morning. Walking through the streets of New York, $2 coffee from a local coffee shop in hand, I am always excited to see the new opportunities each day has in store at the U.S. Mission to the UN (USUN).

Rose Garden, United Nations

In the Research Unit, I have enhanced my investigative research skills by assisting with research requests. During my time at USUN, I have taken classes at the UN Dag Hammarskjold Library on Security Council and General Assembly documentation, which have helped me better understand the UN system, as well as how to use UN databases in order to find information. If you’re curious to learn more or would like to engage in your own research using official UN documents, links to these databases can be found here (ODS) and here (UNBISNET).

Additionally, I help in management of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, after a recent surge of requests since fall of 2017. Tasks range from assisting in finding information requested within the Research Unit’s records to management of documents. I also assist with a records management project in order to properly archive official USUN documents.

In the Host Country Affairs Section, I organize notifications to Permanent Missions to the UN, and their respective responses to a project to confirm the official status of members of their households in the United States. I distribute to members of the United Nations community the return of their national passports when U.S. visas have been issued as well as Department of State Diplomatic and official identification credentials. This past week I attended a meeting of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country in which I observed how the United States administers its responsibilities as the host country for 192 member states.

Additionally, I have been able to sit in on meetings during the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, and write short readouts about the events and panels I attend. Click here for more information about HLPF.

HLPF Meeting, Japan Society

Through these experiences and tasks, I have gained vital information on how political reform is executed on a global level. I have begun to understand the complexities of multilateral negotiations at an international institution, and the difficulty of implementing change. This knowledge has opened my mind to the abundant number of career paths I could pursue after I graduate, and I am excited to see what the future holds.

I am also extremely grateful to be in New York City this summer, as I have  explored many new parts of the city and met people from all over the world. For the 4th of July, the U.S. Mission hosted a party at the UN, which I attended and viewed the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks from the best seat in the city, accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. I have also explored many historic and cultural parts of the city, and with every new item I check off my “list of things to do in NYC,” many more are immediately added to the list. I have  met many interns who are interested in pursuing similar career paths as I am and have been able to learn from their experiences,  as well. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer has in store!

First Week At The United States Mission to the UN: USUN

This summer, I have the incredible opportunity to intern at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York, NY. The United States Mission to the UN (USUN), headed by Ambassador Nikki Haley, serves as the United States Delegation to the United Nations, under the U.S. Department of State. USUN works to advance U.S. foreign policy, especially in the realm of political, economic and social, legal, military, public diplomacy and management interests at the United Nations.

As an intern, I have the opportunity to work both in the Research Unit and the Host Country Affairs Office. The purpose of the Research Unit is to provide assistance to policy-making officials at USUN by the research and analysis of existing U.S. foreign policy decisions, UN resolutions, historical facts, and UN related subject matters in relation with the United States. The Research Unit also maintains the Mission’s records. As an intern for the Research Unit, I help with any research requests the office may receive, with special projects specific to the needs of the office, as well as attend training courses at the UN in order to better comprehend the United Nations system. Separately, the Host Country Affairs Office assures that the obligations of the United States to the United Nations and the UN Community are upheld, serving as a liaison between the UN diplomatic community and federal and local government agencies. As an intern for the office, I work on projects specific to the department’s need during the current time, as well as have the opportunity to attend meetings related to managing the UN diplomatic community.

Delegates Lounge, United Nations

USUN does an incredible job of making the internship a holistic experience, rather than just a 9-5 job. As an intern, I have the opportunity to attend meetings and events at the UN, and get to know government officials and other interns through lunches and networking events. Therefore, I have already met experienced government officials, undergraduate students who are interested in a similar career path as mine, as well as graduate students and law students. I am  gaining a better understanding of the diverse career paths I can choose.

Sitting in on a General Assembly meeting

This summer, I hope to take in as much information as I can,  and learn about the intricacies of one of the most powerful international institutions in the world. I hope to apply my studies within the International and Global Studies major and the Health: Science, Society, and Policy major to the work that I am doing at the USUN. I hope to gain understanding about how political reform occurs in such a large and diverse international body, and  to better understand the career path I would like to take and options that I have to pursue. I am excited to learn abou the inner workings of the international community that I am so grateful to be a part of for these ten weeks. This internship, already, does not feel as if I am simply an intern with no real place at the Mission, but rather that the Mission is almost as excited to have me, as I am excited to be at the Mission.

Maria Kulchyckyj  ’20’